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Anonymous
(Unregistered)Wed 30-May-12 21:02:50
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Thoughts on Virgin


[link to this post]
 
This is just a heads up for those people out there who are considering Virgin.

Disclaimer
I recognise that my experience is not necessarily what may always be expected.

I moved in to this house in May last year. I called Virgin before moving, to verify that I would be able to get things moving relatively quickly. I was assured that every residence in my postcode was already wired and that it would take two weeks to have everything activated and ready. Perfect - two weeks was just after I would move in.

First blip - they call back the day before it's due to say that actually, my house isn't wired. It'll take 1-2 weeks extra to get that sorted. Fast forward two weeks, and I've seen and heard nothing more from them. I call and discover that their engineering visit was cancelled, but the person on the phone can't see why. Nor can her supervisor. I ask them to ring me back once they've found what the issue is, they say they will do so within 48 hours.

3 days later I call back, having heard nothing. This sets the pattern for things to come; over a period of 13 weeks, I am constantly strung along, promised dates at most 3 weeks away each time for the problems to be resolved. Of the 10 or so contacts over this period, I am promised call backs a half dozen times. I received one as promised, the others never materialized. The main office blames the engineering co-ordination office. The engineering office tell me that their engineers aren't replying to emails and they don't have phone numbers for them.

Why, you may ask did I not give up and go to someone else? I would dearly love to have done this, but a £150 installation fee for a BT phone line along with housemates unwilling to chip in (all students) meant Virgin was my only option.

Eventually a line was installed and I was finally in the modern world again. Except that, as a first person shooter player, while I'm not particularly interested in headline speeds, I am dependent on quick response times (ping). This aspect of the service is as universally abysmal as their customer support. The only time I can reliably play my favourite games is before 9am - when there's hardly anyone else on, and not really feasible anyway as I work early most days.

When I contacted their support about this, between the agents I spoke to I observed dismissiveness ("Your connection's fine!"), ignorance, blind adherence to script - trying to have me repeat things I had already done, several times - and a dragging of heels when I asked to speak to anyone more senior.

Those of you with a bit of background knowledge may suggest contention ratios as being the source of my woes. You could well be right, but a) I'm not satisfied with "might be", I want confirmation one way or the other, and b) that still doesn't justify Virgin's representatives' pathological aversion to admitting the problem may be with their network design or equipment and not customer stupidity.

However, Virgin achieved their aim of exhausting me of the will to scale their wall of denial, and for the past 9 months I have endured the fact that I lag more than a 56k user sharing his connection with a Skype addict. My only comforts are that I will be out of here soon and now know to avoid them as much as if they were a swarm of flesh-eating radioactive locusts.

In the interest of completeness I will allow that if all you want is to browse the web, they may be sufficient, most of the time. And provided you're prepared to wait three months for the service to arrive in the first place.

In contrast my provider whilst living at my parents' house, BeThere, are excellent.
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Wed 30-May-12 23:12:39
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Re: Thoughts on Virgin


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
had exactly the same problems with the ping, packet loss and jitter for about 6 months with virgin.

just a bit of info though. i dont know where you got £150 for a bt line install...

if you look around most companys including post office, bt, talk talk, sky etc normally have deals on where the line install is free or at most about £30. this may have saved you some time and effort with Virgin.

i actually enquired with the post office about 2 months ago and they offered me free bt line install and £50 cash back in my bills so i effectively got 5 months free line rental as well.
Standard User hk11
(fountain of knowledge) Thu 31-May-12 03:24:16
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Re: Thoughts on Virgin


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
I was with Virgin for a number of years. Found the BB service great but let down by total lack of customer care. frown

Current provider is Plusnet and I'm generally very happy with them. Support is generally poor in that they just seem to knock out replies from a sheet, but at least they reply and if you bash away you do eventually get someone who knows what they are doing. smile

---
Keef- Dartford Kent UK - Plusnet via Siemens Gigaset SE587
My Broadband Speed Test
Previously - Virgin/NTL/Bell Cable, Crosswinds, IC24, FreeOnlineNet, X-Stream,
Totalise, Freeserve, Force9, TescoNet, AOL, Freenetname, Pipex, E7
===========


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Standard User coldfire3000
(newbie) Thu 31-May-12 10:32:10
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Re: Thoughts on Virgin


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
I had a very similar experiance with VM. I escalated my install issue through the retentions department until I had everything I needed setup (3 TiVo installs) which several engineers said was not possible, but it was finally done and is working now.

The latency issue is one I have struggled with on and off for ages. The first thing to do is get the thinkbroadband ping checker setup and running against your connection so you have some evidence and some more information.

I would suggest:
Posting on the VM forums. Make sure you have a couple of days of thinkbroadband ping checker screenshots to post and also post your channel info from your router.
Checking your router connection/channel info. If your SNR on any channel is above 45dB then that should be looked at. If the power on any downstream channel is higher than 10dBmV then that should be looked at too.
I would also recommend emailing the virgin media CEO's office. This is where I got some almost acceptable help, mainly I managed to get some refunds for the months where my service was not installed and some more for the months where I could not game on the connection. I will PM you the email address.

Another note is that VM are doing a massive rollout of new network equipment for their 'doubling speeds' thing. If your in an area that has not had its speeds doubled yet then my experience is that it will likely fix your issue. This is because VM have oversold their network in the years gone by and there is not enough capacity to provide the latency required for gaming. When they rollout the new network infrastructure they are increasing capacity and that seems to relieve the issue. Check your doublespeed schedule at www.virginmedia.com/doublespeed and see when that is supposed to happen in your area, hopefully it has not passed by already!

Best of luck!
Standard User JonasTone
(newbie) Thu 31-May-12 10:58:56
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Re: Thoughts on Virgin


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
Hi, Im also a disgruntled VM customer, i have been with them for just over a year and it has taken me this long to get past all the issues i have had since starting my contract with them. let me tell you the story

I got my "superhub" through the post the day they said it would arrive and proceeded to install it (screw the fiber cable to it) the following day the connection was active so i booted the router up. after 2 hours the router had done what it needed to do to become active and was working as expected, until i tried to play an online game. This is where all my problems started. I used pingtest to see wht i was having so mnay issues trying to play a game, and found that my ping was 1165 ms <50miles and my jitter was 3506 ms, so i proceeded to call Customer services to ask what was the problem they said, there was no reported problems and that my connection was fine, they tried to suggest that it was my PC that was at fault or the cable. i proceeded to tell them that im using a high end gaming PC with all the equipment designed for FAST gaming, they the said it was the Ethernet cable that was at fault, i told them that i was using a full GIGABIT(1000) cable and had tried several computers connected to the same cable with the same issue.

Anyway after 2 weeks of this i called to say i was gonna cancel and stick to my slow but stable ADSL. they the told me there was a known issue and it would be rectified within 2 weeks, so i let my old internet connection be disconnected and thought that VM the massive company that they are would not lie to their customers.

Two more weeks passed by and there was still massive problems with my connection so i called again, i was informed by this person that there had been no issues in my area and no work to be carried out. at this point i was ready to kill someone as i had been informed that there had been, i asked to but put through to the second level technicians as the first line techs are useless. They told me there had been a problem and that first line techs are useless. So the guy i was talking to informed me that the "superhub" was currently known to be rubbish, and there were so many problems with it that many people had been requesting an old VMG300 modem that was 1000% better, but only the office of the CEO of virgin could authorize old equipment to be sent as the "superhub" was the new standard.

So i emailed the CEOs office and received a response the same day, i had send all my links from the TBB quality monitor(which they dismissed) and speed/pingtests to their allowed servers and traceroutes to bbc.co.uk. The response i got was less than what i was expecting but i finally got a modem sent out after a further few emails explaining in detail my issues(and threatening trading standards due to their adverts implying that their connection is "best for gaming" which is clearly isnt)

When it arrived with the provided DLINK router i installed and immediately the connection was much better, but still not acceptable, pings to <50 miles were 300+ and jitter was around 100 ms. After several more emails and calls i was told that there was heavy usage of upto 90% on my UBR everyday sustained over 6 hours every day, but this is seeb as acceptable and falls withing VMs "KPI" or Key Performance Indicators i told them that im trying to use the connection at peak times and it takes more than a minute to load google.co.uk (it didnt take that long on 56k dialup)

After another 2 months of terrible connection there was a massive hardware failure in the local UBR (most probably due to the massive over utilization) and they had new equipment put in there, my connection was much more stable and web pages loaded much faster, but the connection was still useless for gaming. All of this continued until they started upgrading the local area for "double speed" installing new equipment and repairing old stuff, my connection became amazing, worked awesome for everything for more than a week. then in my local town center a man stood in the shopping mall inform of a massive VM stall selling VM TV BB AND PHONE. This carried on for 4 weeks and my connection got gradually worse over that time. By the time the sales man had left, the connection was back to where it was before.

So they upgraded my area due to over utilization, then sold connections to that new capacity causing more over utilization.

All in All Virgin Media have terrible business ethics and practice. I've never know of such ridiculous practices.

I am however limited to only VM as this house also requires a new telephone line due to BT taking down the pole in my street and only connecting currently active BT member homes. Installation fees and all the like apply and i dont have the kind of money they want for the line to be installed.

My advice to anyone looking to have BB avoid VM like they are a plague ridden leper in a lift.

John
Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Fri 01-Jun-12 14:48:01
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Re: Thoughts on Virgin


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
No experience of Virgin as I don't live in an area that has coverage but as far as you latency goes - is the time it gets worse similar to the time your housemates start using the connection? If they are hammering it with peer to peer or downloads then that would wreck your latency. A shared connection where some people are downloading and others gaming won't work well with any supplier.

However, I am not ruling out issues with the VM network - just think you need to see if it is within the building first.
Standard User coldfire3000
(newbie) Fri 01-Jun-12 16:14:37
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Re: Thoughts on Virgin


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
Admittedly someone else hammering your connection would cause the same issue but....

Take a look on the Virgin forums mate, you will see that the UBR over utilisation is the cause of these issues and it affects a massive portion of the VM network. I am just hoping that now they have upgraded my area they will not have a massive uptake of the service and performance will remain good. If they don't then I will be cancelling and going to BT Infinity which is now available in my area but was not when I signed up to VM!
Standard User jchamier
(knowledge is power) Fri 01-Jun-12 19:48:37
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Re: Thoughts on Virgin


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ian72:
No experience of Virgin as I don't live in an area that has coverage but as far as you latency goes - is the time it gets worse similar to the time your housemates start using the connection? If they are hammering it with peer to peer or downloads then that would wreck your latency. A shared connection where some people are downloading and others gaming won't work well with any supplier.


You can get routers that offer QoS to resolve most of this. e.g. Draytek 2830 or some kit from Billion and more complex kit from others.

James - be* pro - 16.8 or 17.2mbps BQM
No FTTC cabinet yet (due Mar 2011) at THFB PCP 5
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